15 January 2003 Internet Security Systems (ISS) has acquired Cobion, a privately-held German security software company, in a bid to improve its spam filtering capabilities.
ISS paid €26 million for Cobion, which specialises in content filtering, a market which is being driven by the need to cut the amount of unsolicited commercial email or spam being dropped into corporate email in-trays.
Spam now accounts for more than half of all email sent and cost businesses an estimated $20.5 billion in 2003, according to analysts at the Radicati Group, despite the introduction of new laws in the US and the European Union.
Content filtering is the fastest growing sector of the security market, with analysts IDC forecasting that demand will exceed $1.5 billion by 2007. Mainstream email security companies, such as Network Associates, Symantec and Sophos, have also moved into the anti-spam marketplace.
“Spam and unwanted web content have become a potential legal liability and a drain on productivity for enterprises,” said Brian Burke, an analyst at IDC.
Cobion was founded in 1997 and now boasts a database categorising 20 million websites, with 12 distribution points worldwide. Its OrangeBox web and spam filtering software is designed to protect companies from illegal content entering their systems, while also preventing confidential information from being leaked.
ISS will integrate Cobion’s technology into its Providentia product family by the second quarter of 2004, as well as continuing its stand-alone products.